Mutton Mince Pie

Mutton Mince Pie_page_thumb[2]

A sweet-and-savory main course adapted from “The English Huswife” by Gervase Markham published i 1615.

8-10 servings


2 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 cup chilled lard cut into 1/2-inch cubes
5 tablespoons (or more) ice water
1 pound boneless leg of lamb, diced into 1/4-inch cubes
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/4 pound suet, chopped very fine with a food processor
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon mace or nutmeg
1 cup currants
1 cup raisins (preferably the large golden raisins
the Brits call sultanas)
1/4 cup prunes, roughly chopped
1/4 cup dates, roughly chopped
zest of 1 orange
1 egg, beaten


[1] Make the crust first and refrigerate it for at least an hour.

[2] Ideally, you would have mixed all the filling ingredients, left them overnight to stew and mingle flavors, then baked them for 1 1/2 to 2 hours in a 225-degree oven–but who has that kind of time?

[3] For the modern cook, simply dice the lamb into 1/4-inch cubes. Heat the oil in a large skillet and pan-fry the meat over medium-high heat until it loses its red color, then take off the heat. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

[4] Stir the suet into the lamb. Add the salt, cloves, and mace or nutmeg, and mix to coat. Add the currents, raisins, prunes, dates, and orange zest, and mix thoroughly.

[5] On a lightly floured surface, roll out half the dough to a thin crust, and use it to line a pie plate (or, for individual pies, ramekins or even muffin tin holes). Spoon filling into the crust until it is about 3/4 full.

[6] Roll out the other half of the dough to make a lid or lids. Paint the underside of the edges with milk or water to help them stick and use them to cover the pie(s). Pierce each lid with a toothpick or fork to let steam escape and brush the tops of the lids with the beaten egg.

[7] Bake at 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes, or until the crust browns. As you take the pie(s) from the oven, sprinkle the top(s) with sugar.

Recipe by Jeanne Thiel Kelly
Photo credit: Frances C. Sayers
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